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The Jerk (1979)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  14 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 40,844 users  
Reviews: 119 user | 56 critic

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From rags to riches... to rags. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The song that Navin and Marie sing as they walk along the beach, "Tonight You Belong to Me", was a hit in the '50s for sister duet Patience and Prudence. See more »


When Navin is chasing Billy on the train, Navin's voice is not synchronized with the audio. See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Martin Sheen/David Bowie (1979) See more »


Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
See more »

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User Reviews

Pure Comedy Shinola
31 May 2002 | by (London) – See all my reviews

I first saw this when it was released at the movies. It was one of those you could happily go to see again with somebody else the following night. It's on TV right now as I write this, 23 years later and it's difficult to finish the review with all the great dialogue in the background. The purpose of a comedy movie (apart from making money!) is to make people laugh. This one does it constantly. I've got to give it a 10.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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